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28 October 2019

Local auctioneer fined for misleading description of own house

Mr Colin West, Director of Auction House Cumbria Ltd was fined £950 on Thursday 24 October after pleading guilty at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court to misdescribing a house which he sold at auction. Mr West was also ordered to pay £1,750 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.

West sold a two-bedroom property owned by him at auction, described in a brochure and in online advertisements as having a, “pleasant rear garden with an open field behind.”

In fact most of the garden did not belong to the property, but to an adjoining landowner.

This matter was brought to the attention of Cumbria Trading Standards following the sale of the house at an auction held in Carlisle in June 2017.

During the process of purchasing the property the buyer’s solicitor had some concerns with regards to the rear garden not showing on the title plans, and requested Mr West’s solicitor to clarify the position and to indicate on a title plan the extent of the garden boundary. Once this was received it clearly indicated that most of the garden was in fact outside the boundaries of the property’s title deeds.

An Ordnance Surveyor visited the property and plotted what was currently owned by the new owners and the areas that were believed to be the buyers but not showing on their title deeds. The surveyor also confirmed the garden area was in fact registered to a third party.

The buyers felt that they were misled by Mr West with regards to the description of his property and the ownership of the garden. When they asked about the ownership of the garden his answer was that he had simply forgotten the fact that the garden area behind is not included in the title.

Cllr Celia Tibble, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said:

“This is a very unusual case. Traders should ensure that claims on their websites and literature are justifiable and not misleading. Purchasing a house is one of the biggest decisions people have to make, and the last thing they need is to be misled.”


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Mr Colin West, Director of Auction House Cumbria Ltd was fined £950 on Thursday 24 October after pleading guilty at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court to misdescribing a house which he sold at auction. Mr West was also ordered to pay £1,750 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.